Religious Freedom & LDS Church Tax Exempt Status – Quentin L. Cook

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Quentin L. Cook (Quorum of the Twelve)

Some ask what is wrong when marriage is granted to those of the same gender, as was done by the California Supreme Court. I’ve already stated one reason: it is contrary to God’s plan. In addition, the court’s decision will inevitably lead to conflicts with religious liberties, freedom of association, and free speech rights.

The freedom of families to raise children in an atmosphere that values and supports the unique importance of marriage between a man and a woman will be lost. Society will become more and more hostile to traditional beliefs about marriage and family. People inside of institutions with beliefs that oppose same sex marriage will increasingly be labeled as intolerant and subjected to legal penalties or social ostracism‐‐and this will not be limited to California, as its powerful influence is felt across the country.

Three examples will illustrate this concern. First: curriculum in public schools. Nearly all public schools provide education about health and sexuality. By law, health education includes the legal and financial aspects and responsibilities of marriage and parenthood. By law, sex education includes age‐appropriate instruction in grades K‐12 that teaches respect for marriage.

The California Supreme Court has declared that same‐sex unions must be given equal dignity under the law. That’s unless Proposition 8 passes, children in public schools likely will be taught about same‐sex marriages, and that such unions should be respected as the equal of traditional marriages. Children will also likely receive age‐appropriate information about sexual relations within heterosexual and homosexual marriages.

Second, religious adoption agencies. After same‐sex marriage was imposed in Massachusetts, the state tried to force Catholic charities in Boston to disregard its religious beliefs and place children with homosexual couples. Rather than abandon its faith, Catholic Charities discontinued its adoption services. California’s religious adoption agencies will likely face the same choice under California’s rigorous anti‐discrimination laws.

Third, religious tax exempt status. Pressure will mount to revoke the tax exempt status of religious organizations and other charities that refuse to recognize same‐sex marriages or open their facilities for the performance of such marriages. The argument will be that the government shouldn’t subsidize discriminatory beliefs with tax exemptions.

(The Divine Institution of Marriage, Broadcast to California Regarding Proposition 8, 8 Oct. 2008)

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